Oh, hello! I didn’t see you there. Come in, sit down, take a seat by the fire and let me regale you with another thrilling ramble.

This week I have been playing Konami’s hack n slash-a-thon Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Before I go in-depth, let’s have a brief recap of the Metal Gear story so far. In the 1960s, an American spy code named Snake (who’s DNA would later be used to create the perfect soldiers, all of whom would also be called Snake and be identical but better somehow even though they are inferior, and a weird girly man who is also a Snake clone but only figuratively) goes to a jungle where some rogue Russians have done… Something for some reason. Whilst there he finds his mentor, The Boss, has defected to the Russian side and helped them to build an indestructible tank with nuclear capabilities, but she hasn’t really defected. Snake doesn’t find this out until after he’s killed her and is told by another American spy who defected to Russia years earlier who wants to defect back but is actually working for the Chinese for reasons that are never adequately explained. Somehow all of this leads to the Patriots taking control of the world in secret, and they want to end war by causing wars and OH MY SHIT I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

My eyes go cross eyed just trying to follow the plot of Metal Gear, so even before I put the disc in my console Metal Gear Rise of the Revengeance had me at a disadvantage. But there is a reason I continue to play them and that is the gameplay.

Metal Gear games come with the tagline “Tactical Espionage Action” (or Operations), and it is fun coming up with tactics to get around enemies (Metal Gear Solid 3’s camouflage system was particularly compelling for me) and trying to get away when you screw the stealth up is a genuine adrenaline rush.

Metal Gear: Rise of the Revenge takes a step back from stealth gameplay and puts the emphasis on combat. Traditionally, MGS combat has been awkward and often not worth it, which suits the tactical/stealth style. Revengeance utilizes it’s unique “blade mode” feature where the player uses the thumbsticks to take total control of main character Raiden’s sword, and I must confess it is rather immersive and totally badass to chop an enemy cyborg into tiny pieces, rip his cybernetic organs out and crush them in your hands. Where Metal Gear: The Revengening loses me is the plot.

The one thing I have been able to decipher from the Metal Gear series’ plot is that it has an anti-war message, but this moral is kind of lost when you get to play as a totally bitching cyborg ninja and fight awesome bosses. Every game in the series preaches peace but then forces you to participate in some of the best boss battles in the history of gaming (Psycho Mantis, anyone?). Also the whole Metal Gear business plan has the unmistakable stench of bullshit about it.

The titular Metal Gear is a walking, nuclear equipped battle tank that appears in almost every game. They are always promoted as being unstoppable but are always taken out by a single man, on foot. I get the feeling that the same people who came up with Metal Gear plan also run the Umbrella corporation. The business model seems to be:

  1. Make giant robot/monster
  2. Something else
  3. Fun times had by all

What makes it double bullshit in Revenge of the Revengeance is that it’s latest incarnation, Metal Gear Excelsus, is hand’s down the easiest Metal Gear fight of all. After defeating it, you then take on the game’s main antagonist, The Senator, who is much more difficult.

Come to think of it, The Senator himself is equipped with nano-machines that harden in response to physical trauma, rendering him virtually indestructible. He is also physically stronger than Raiden, who was able to lift the gargantuan Excelsus over his head and swing it around. Actually, why did he need Metal Gear or a cyborg child army to begin with? He’s already the strongest being in existence, why not do it all himself? And why was he trying to start wars if he wanted to stop them and OH GOD MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, the plot is mostly a load of twisted, flinging-flanging codswallop, but they did manage to make world’s most annoying androgynous man Raiden into a certified badass. The actual game itself is fun, if a bit too short, with the kind of excellent boss battles we’ve come to expect from Metal Gear, so The Revengenator gets a recommendation from me based on that. Just make sure to keep some paracetamol on hand if you want to decipher the plot.

Toodle-oo, dear readers xx